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Siemens to invest in Iran’s petchem projects

Press TV – August 22, 2016

Iran’s media say German engineering giant Siemens has started talks to invest in the country’s petrochemical industry in a fresh sign of growing post-sanctions opening in the business environment of the Islamic Republic.

Mehr News Agency reported that Siemens is already engaged in serious negotiations with Iran’s Ministry of Petroleum over investing in a certain number of the country’s petrochemical projects.

The report added that a ranking delegation from Siemens had visited Tehran over the past few days to meet the related Iranian officials for investment talks.

It also said that another topic in the meetings of the German firm with Iranian officials was providing the advanced technology as well as the related technical and management solutions for Iran’s petrochemical projects.

In May, Siemens reported a rise in its second-quarter profit by €130 million in what it says was a result of the promising prospects of future activities in Iran.

The company announced in a statement that the resurgent business prospects in Iran after the removal of international sanctions has already increased its expectations of second-quarter revenues by €174 million.

The Munich-based company has always been one of the most active German enterprises in Iran. Even during the multiple years of sanctions that a majority of foreign companies left the Islamic Republic, Siemens kept its office in Tehran open to maintain its business in the country.

It has been mostly providing engineering services as well as technical parts including turbines to Iran’s gas projects. After the removal of the sanctions against Iran in January, it became even more active to pursue an ambitious Iran investment agenda.

In March, the company signed memoranda of understanding on rail infrastructure and gas equipment projects potentially worth billions of euros, as well as an energy agreement with Iranian power and infrastructure group MAPNA.

August 22, 2016 Posted by | Economics | , | Leave a comment

Samidoun international coordinator denied entry to Palestine, interrogated about BDS and prisoner solidarity

Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network – August 22, 2016

Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network international coordinator Charlotte Kates was denied entry to Palestine at the King Hussein Bridge crossing from Jordan to occupied Palestine on Monday, 15 August, as she attempted to join a delegation of European parliamentarians and lawyers in support of Bilal Kayed and the Palestinian prisoners. Kayed, 34, has been on hunger strike for 69 days against his administrative detention without charge or trial; nearly 100 fellow prisoners have joined his strike against his imprisonment, imposed upon him immediately following his completion of a 14.5-year sentence in Israeli prisons.

When Kates presented her U.S. passport at the passport control line, it was taken from her and she was told to wait for further questioning. Along with multiple other travelers to Palestine and, especially, Palestinians holding international passports as well as those holding PA passports, she waited for hours at the bridge for a period interspersed with interrogations about her purpose in the country and participation in Palestine prisoner solidarity and BDS activism.

“I was asked about the websites I maintain, asked to allow the interrogator to access my email conversation with others, and asked to write up lists of names of people I know in Lebanon and in Palestine and lists of organizations with which I work. The interrogator attempted to look through my phone to find my contacts and to seek out WhatsApp chats and repeatedly demanded that I log in to my email or social media accounts and allow her access. As my phone was completely clear of any contact information and I refused to access any accounts or provide lists of names, this became a ‘reason’ to deny me entry. However, other travelers at the bridge were also subject to these searches and questioned about their personal photos and WhatsApp chats. In particular, people were questioned about wearing hijab in photos or being in contact with visibly Arab or Muslim friends,” said Kates.

“I was interrogated about my involvement with Samidoun and organizing around Palestinian political prisoners, and whether my visit to Palestine had anything to do with Bilal Kayed in particular, clearly a matter of concern to the Israeli interrogator,” said Kates. “Furthermore, in light of the recent announcements regarding ‘crackdowns’ on BDS activists entering Palestine, I was specifically interrogated regarding speeches and lectures I have given regarding boycott, divestment and sanctions against Israel, support for the BDS call and involvement with Israeli Apartheid Week.”

“This was not about personally targeting me; it was an attempt to target the growing international solidarity movement to support Palestinian prisoners and the Palestinian people’s liberation struggle, and an attempt to further isolate Palestinian prisoners from the people of the world,” Kates said. “Furthermore, my experience of prolonged interrogation and being held for hours at the bridge pales next to the experience of Palestinians being denied their basic right to enter their own homeland – part and parcel of the denial of the fundamental right of return – and subject to harsh interrogation, being deported for carrying international passports, and being subjected to cruel and degrading treatment at the border.”

“During just my own time at the bridge, I encountered numerous Palestinians facing enormous delays and aggressive interrogation, Palestinians denied entry to their own homeland, and Palestinians presented with ‘limited-access’ entry permits prohibiting them from visiting Jerusalem. I encountered a family from Gaza who had one of the rare permits to exit via Erez/Beit Hanoun and then the bridge to Jordan to see family members. As they had studied in the US and UK, they were questioned by border guards as to why they wished to return to Gaza at all, rather than staying in another country. Border control and interrogation is part and parcel of the system of Israeli colonization and dispossession separating Palestinians from their land and seeking to force even more Palestinians outside their homeland. It is part of the same system that denies millions of Palestinians their right to return and attempts to continue the Nakba on an ongoing basis,” said Kates.

“At the same time, I also witnessed numerous holders of international passports singled out for their names, visibly Muslim or Arab appearance, or travels to Arab countries, and subject to degrading and offensive interrogations regarding their religion and personal relationships,” Kates noted. … Full article

August 22, 2016 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Full Spectrum Dominance, Subjugation - Torture | , , , | 1 Comment

Leaked memo proves George Soros ruled Ukraine in 2014, minutes from “Breakfast with US Ambassador Geoffrey Pyatt”

The power and control that George Soros held over Ukraine after the Maidan is beyond belief.

By Alex Christoforou | The Duran | August 20, 2016

We noted in a previous post how important Ukraine was to George Soros, with documents from DC Leaks that show Soros, and his Open Society NGO, scouring the Greek media and political landscape to push the benefits of his Ukraine coup upon a Russian leaning Greek society.

Now more documents, in the massive 2,500 leaked tranche, show the immense power and control Soros had over Ukraine immediately following the illegal Maidan government overthrow.

Soros and his NGO executives held detailed and extensive meetings with just about every actor involved in the Maidan coup… from US Ambassador Geoffrey Pyatt, to Ukraine’s Ministers of Foreign Affairs, Justice, Health, and Education.

The only person missing was Victoria Nuland, though we are sure those meeting minutes are waiting to see the light of day.

Plans to subvert and undermine Russian influence and cultural ties to Ukraine are a central focus of every conversation. US hard power, and EU soft power, is central towards bringing Ukraine into the neo-liberal model that Soros champions, while bringing Russia to its economic knees.

Soros NGO,  International Renaissance Foundation (IRF) plays a key role in the formation of the “New Ukraine”… the term Soros frequently uses when referring to his Ukraine project.

In a document titled, “Breakfast with US Ambassador Geoffrey Pyatt”, George Soros, (aka GS), discusses Ukraine’s future with:

Geoffrey Pyatt (US Ambassador to Ukraine); David Meale (Economic Counsellor to the Ambassador); Lenny Benardo (OSF); Yevhen Bystrytsky (Executive Director, IRF); Oleksandr Sushko (Board Chair, IRF); Ivan Krastev (Chariman, Centre for Liberal Studies); Sabine Freizer (OSF); Deff Barton (Director, USAID, Ukraine)

The meeting took place on March 31, 2014, just a few months after the Maidan coup, and weeks before a full out civil war erupted, after Ukraine forces attacked the Donbass.

In the meeting, US Ambassador Pyatt outlines the general goal for fighting a PR war against Putin, for which GS is more than happy to assist.

Ambassador: The short term issue that needs to be addressed will be the problem in getting the message out from the government through professional PR tools, especially given Putin’s own professional smear campaigns.

GS: Agreement on the strategic communications issue—providing professional PR assistance to Ukrainian government would be very useful. Gave an overview of the Crisis Media Center set up by IRF and the need for Yatseniuk to do more interviews with them that address directly with journalists and the public the current criticisms of his decision making.

Pyatt pushes the idea of decentralization of power for the New Ukraine, without moving towards Lavrov’s recommendation for a federalized Ukraine.

GS notes that a federalization model would result in Russia gaining influence over eastern regions in Ukraine, something that GS strictly opposes.

Ambassador: Lavrov has been pushing the line about constitutional reform and the concept of federalization in Russia. The USG reaffirmed it will not negotiate over the heads of the Ukrainians on the constitutional reform issue and that Ukraine needs to decide on this issue for itself. He noted that there are templates for devolution that can be used in this context but that the struggle will be to figure out how to move forward with decentralization without feeding into Russian agenda.

GS: Federalization plan being marketed by Putin to Merkel and Obama would result in Russia gaining influence and de facto control over eastern regions in Ukraine. He noted Lavrov has clear instructions from Putin to push the line on federalization.

Ambassador: Secretary Kerry would be interested to hear GS’s views on the situation directly, upon return from his trip.

SF: There is no good positive model for federalization in region, even models of decentralization are very poor because the concept is not very common. The institutions need for decentralization do not yet exist and need to be built.

YB: Ukraine should pursue a decentralization policy based on the Polish decentralization model. IRF funded the development of a plan based on this model previously and those involved are now advisers to government on this issue. Noted it is also important to encourage the constitution council created y government to be more open and involve independent experts.

Ambassador: Constitutional reform issue as the most urgent issue facing Ukraine—there is a need to decentralize in order to push democracy down to the local level and break the systemic corruption that results from Kiev’s authority over the local governments.

Ambassador: Russian propaganda machine telling Kharkhiv and Donbass residents that the government in Western Ukraine is looking to take away their resources and rights through decentralization process, feeding into Lavrov’s line that the Ukrainian government is dysfunctional and not successful as a unitary state, making it a necessity to have federalization.

The participants cannot stop fixating on Russia and Putin throughout the meeting. The Ukraine project seems to be more about sticking it to Russia, then about saving a country about to fall into the abyss.

US Ambassador Pyatt hands over full control to GS, and point blank asks him, “what USG should be doing and what the USG is currently doing.”

GS’s response is stunning, “Obama has been too soft on Putin”…

Ambassador: Asked GS for a critique of US policy and his thoughts on what USG should be doing.

GS: Will send Ambassador Pyatt copies of correspondences he previously sent to others and his article in NY Review of Books. Obama has been too soft on Putin, and there is a need to impost potent smart sanctions. He noted the need for a division of labor between the US and the EU with the US playing the bad cop role. The USG should impose sanctions on Russia for 90 days or until the Russian government recognizes the results of the presidential elections. He noted that he is most concerned about transitional justice and lustration.

Ambassador: USG will organize conference with the British at the end of April on financial crimes that will bring together senior level government officials and representatives of the international community to discuss where money went. He noted his worries about the complete implosion of the Party of Regions and will be speaking to IRI and NDI about offering assistance to reconstruct the party for the post-Yanukovych era.

US Ambassador Pyatt decides to take out Tymoshenko from the New Ukraine equation.

She served her purpose as a poor and sick political prisoner while Yanukovich was in power, saying that “Tymoshenko is associated with everything undignified”…

Ambassador: Personal philosophy on the greatest need for Ukraine right now is the need for national unification. This will not happen under Tymoshenko because she is perceived as a hold over of the old regime and a very divisive personality. He calls the revolution a “revolution of dignity” and Tymoshenko is associated with everything undignified.

GS: Need to cleanse the “original sin” that all of the current presidential candidates are marked with in order for Ukraine to move forward.

Concern over the Pravy Sector, and how to disarm, or integrate, the muscle that was used to instigate much of the violence during the Maidan is debated.

Soros even throws out his suspicion that the Privy Sector has been infiltrated, and now is working under Russia’s FSB.

GS: Belief that the Pravy Sector is an FSB plot and has been funded to destabilize Ukraine

Ambassador: Agreed that this was at least partly true, but the problem now is that Pravy Sector has become organic and is still armed. There is a need for the government to figure out how to demobilize and disarm the Pravy Sector.

GS: How can we defend against Putin’s attempts to destabilize the May elections?

Ambassador: The international community should send in a flood of observers from the OSCE and other institutions. The US Embassy is also currently working with the local intelligence agencies to monitor the situation and they have already found Russian agents. He noted that a second ambassador, Cliff Bond, will be brought  into the embassy to focus on the longer term questions such as decentralization, lustration, e-governance, and anti-corruption and will be coordinating with the donor community on these issues. Obama has instructed the embassy to focus primarily on economic support and assistance for Ukraine, avoiding military support or assistance.

GS: Hopes that going forward there will be close contact and cooperation between the US Embassy and the IRF.

Full PDF of the 2014 George Soros minutes can be downloaded here: -Ukraine Working Group 2014-gs ukraine visitmarch 2014note.

The meeting minutes documented present a clear and conclusive case that George Soros and his International Renaissance Foundation (IRF) manipulated Ukraine into moving towards an untenable and self destructive direction.

In one meeting under the title, “Civil Society Roundtable Meeting”, Crimea fifth column schemes are advanced as viable solutions to those participating in the discussion.

Screen-Shot-2016-08-20-at-11.57.54-AM

Likewise we see how involved Soros was in making sure a Ukraine under federalisation is completely undermined at the highest levels, influencing Merkel and Obama to reject such initiatives.

In hindsight it has now become clear as day that the only way Ukraine was going to survive the coup in one piece was to move towards a federalised model of governance.

He [George Soros] noted that Ukraine is in grave danger because Putin knows he cannot allow the new Ukraine to succeed. He reiterated his points about the conversations Putin has had with Merkel and Obama about federalism and his concerns surrounding that development. He noted that he hasn’t had direct feedback yet regarding this issue and is basing his worries on second hand information about the reactions of Merkel and Obama. But he reiterated the need for the Ukrainian government to respond loudly and immediately.

August 22, 2016 Posted by | Deception | , , , | Leave a comment

US Warns Syrian Military… Against Operating Inside Syria!

By Daniel McAdams | Ron Paul Institute | August 21, 2016

Just when you thought US foreign policy could not get more absurd. Lt. Gen. Stephen Townsend, who is listed as “commander of US forces in Iraq and Syria,” has issued a warning to the Syrian military that if its counter-insurgency operations on Syrian soil leave US troops on Syrian soil “feeling threatened,” the US military would “defend itself.”

That needs to be broken down to even be believed.

The Syrian military is fighting an armed uprising on its own soil. The US government is training and equipping several factions of that armed insurgency, in this case the Kurdish YPG militia. The US military is also operating on Syrian soil alongside and in support of the YPG militia. Members of the YPG militia have, over the past several days, been firing on Syrian government forces. The Syrian air force returns fire on its own soil and the US military that is illegally operating on Syrian soil issues a warning to the Syrian government to stop firing on insurgents on Syrian soil!

The US government has a military “commander” commanding US forces operating illegally — according to US and international law — on a foreign country’s soil.

Logic might suggest that if the US military does not want its Special Forces to feel threatened by Syrian government counter-insurgency activities, perhaps it should remove them from that foreign territory in which they are illegally operating.

But the empire creates its own logic and it is not for we mere mortals to understand it. If the Pentagon and the military-industrial complex want to threaten war in Syria (which will be de facto war with Russia) it is not our place to question it. We just plug in to our television screens and feel that soothing sound of state propaganda telling us it’s all being done to keep us safe. There, that feels better…

August 22, 2016 Posted by | Illegal Occupation, War Crimes | , , | 2 Comments

Sir Richard Shirreff Preparing Poles for War with Russia

By Vladislav GULEVICH | Strategic Culture Foundation | 22.08.2016

In July 2016, while swearing in 105 Polish soldiers being promoted to the rank of podporucznik (roughly equivalent to the rank of second lieutenant and a junior officer rank of the Polish Army), the Minister of National Defence for Poland, Antoni Macierewicz, announced Warsaw’s military plans for the near future:

– to increase the number of Polish troops from 100,000 to 150,000 by 2017;

– to set up 17 brigades, one in each of Poland’s 16 provinces and two in Mazovia Province (where Warsaw is situated);

– to urgently deploy new brigades in the provinces of Podlaskie, Podkarpackie and Lubelskie and four battalions in Białystok (on the border with Belarus), Lublin and Rzeszów (both on the border with Ukraine), and Siedlce (90 kilometres from Warsaw); and

– to set up territorial defence forces consisting of 35,000 volunteers, or 164 units, to assist the army.

The territorial defence forces will be the fifth branch of the Polish Armed Forces (after the Land Forces, the Navy, the Air Force, and the Special Forces).

Antoni Macierewicz said that an army of 150,000 is the minimum required for cooperation between Poland and its allies «in the event of a real threat to our independence». And in order to justify this militaristic itch to the Polish people, the defence minister added: «This threat is real and it is coming from the Russian government».

It is impossible to deny the achievements of the Polish authorities in whipping up war hysteria in the country, of course, but their role is ultimately secondary. The root cause should be sought in the work of leading Western think tanks.

The authors of a report published in July (2016) by the European Council on Foreign Relations entitled «An unpredictable Russia: the impact on Poland» are trying to make the Polish people believe that the risk posed by Russia is comparable with the threat of terrorism to Europe (!), that «Central and eastern Europe represents the testing ground for Vladimir Putin’s project to create a new world order». And this statement is presented as an axiom.

On 11 August, an article was published on the BBC’s website under the headline «The Polish paramilitaries preparing for war» which states that nearly 100,000 people have now joined paramilitary organisations in Poland and others are learning how to survive a possible invasion. US National Guard units will serve as the prototype for the territorial defence forces, which are to be an integral part of the Polish Armed Forces, and US instructors are involved in their training and indoctrination.

On 19 July 2016, the Atlantic Council presented a 25-page report entitled «Arming for deterrence. How Poland and NATO should counter a resurgent Russia», which is a kind of postscript to the alliance’s summit in July. Calling for a large-scale military build-up in NATO’s zone of responsibility, the report suggests that Poland should be regarded as a front-line bastion in a war with Russia.

Half of the report deals with recommendations to the Polish government regarding the militarisation of the country, with the clear aim of creating war hysteria among the population.

Thus, the Atlantic Council recommends that Warsaw should:

– issue a statement declaring that Poland will come to the aid of the Baltic States and Romania should they be attacked by Russia;

– publish a list of potential targets for Polish strikes in Russia, primarily in the Kaliningrad Oblast;

– enable Polish F-16s to be carriers of tactical nuclear ordnance;

– declare that, if attacked, Poland reserves the right to dispatch Special Operations Forces deep into Russian territory to carry out acts of sabotage;

– be prepared to destroy Russian infrastructure facilities using missiles; and

– announce that, if attacked by Russia, Poland reserves the right to deploy offensive cyber operations against such targets as the Moscow metro, the St. Petersburg power network, and the TV news channel RT.

Generally speaking, the list of recommendations in the report can reasonably be considered the ravings of a madman. This feeling is intensified by the name of the report’s author – retired British General Sir Richard Shirreff, who served as NATO’s deputy supreme allied commander in Europe between 2011 and 2014 and who has recently gained renown as a novelist.

In May this year, Sir Shirreff presented his book «2017: War with Russia» in London, in which the author states that war between Russia and the West is inevitable. The book opens with a colourful description of the beginning of the war, and this heart-rending scene was written with the firm belief that it would capture anyone’s imagination: Russian troops attack a school in Donetsk and kill around a hundred innocent children in order to blame it on the Ukrainian military and thus create a pretext for large-scale aggression against Ukraine and Europe, which has dropped its guard. Sir Shirreff himself called his work a «prophesy novel».

The politicians currently in power in Poland can boast about their supposed independence in international affairs as much as they like, but in reality, immersed in an atmosphere of hatred with their Russian neighbour, they can only dance obediently to the tune of gentlemen like the retired British General and aspiring novelist Richard Shirreff. And dances like that will never end well.

August 22, 2016 Posted by | Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Militarism | , , , , | Leave a comment

Syria, India call for rejection of foreign influence in internal affairs

India's junior Foreign Minister Mubashir Javed Akbar met Assad in Damascus on 20 August 2016 [Image: Ministry of External Affairs, India]

India’s junior Foreign Minister Mubashir Javed Akbar met Assad in Damascus on 20 August 2016 [Image: Ministry of External Affairs, India]
The BRICS Post | August 22, 2016

During a weekend meeting with an Indian official, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has invited India to play an active role in the reconstruction of the Syrian economy.

India’s junior Foreign Minister Mubashir Javed Akbar met Assad in Damascus on Saturday. The visit will boost Syrian President Assad’s efforts to highlight continued critical support for his government.

State media reports in both countries quoted sources as saying New Delhi and Damascus have reasserted their rejection of “foreign interference in the internal affairs of states”.

The two sides discussed terrorism, faith equality and the need to upgrade bilateral security consultations, the Press Trust of India quoted Indian government sources.

As a growing power, India has a role to play in meeting the challenge of terrorism, Assad has said as the two countries agreed to upgrade their security consultations.

BRICS are opposed to the ouster of Assad as sought by the US and its allies.

Earlier in May, South African junior Foreign Minister Nomaindia Mfeketo had also called on Assad in Damascus to discuss the crisis.

Assad had told the South African Minister that the BRICS countries have played a key role in decreasing western hegemony in global affairs.

During the Indian Minister’s visit on Saturday, Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Mouallem said terrorism is the common adversary of both Syria and India.

There was an agreement between both sides for further upgrading security consultations, sources said.

No details of the security cooperation has been provided by the Indian government yet.

On Saturday, Vikas Swarup, spokesperson of the Indian Foreign Ministry, tweeted a picture of Assad and the Indian Minister.

“During his official visit to Syria, MoS called on President Bashar Al Assad in Damascus today,” Swarup said.

The Indian Minister stressed that “India is ready to offer all that could help in alleviating the suffering of the Syrian people and contribute effectively to the development process and reconstruction in Syria”, Syrian state news agency SANA said.

During the meeting, Assad also welcomed India’s objective position on the conflict in Syria and both leaders acknowledged that terrorism was a global problem.

“As a growing power, India has a role to play in meeting the challenge of terrorism,” Assad said.

On his part, Akbar, during their meeting, said “the age of destruction” should give way to the age of “reconstruction” in Syria.

Russia, which is aiding the Syrian government’s fight against ISIL and the Al-Nusra front, said on Thursday it was willing to support weekly 48-hour ceasefires to allow aid to reach besieged areas.

August 22, 2016 Posted by | Economics, Solidarity and Activism | , , , | Leave a comment

Ex-Yemen Leader Ready to Work with Russia to ‘Fight Terrorism’

teleSUR – August 21, 2016

Former U.S. ally and current ally of the Houthi rebels, Ali Abdullah Saleh, said his future government would be ready to open naval and air bases for Russia.

A newly-formed governing council in Yemen could work with Russia to “fight terrorism” by allowing Moscow use of the war-torn country’s military bases, Yemen’s former president said on Sunday.

Ali Abdullah Saleh, a former counterterrorism ally of the U.S. who was toppled by mass protests in 2011, told state-owned channel Russia 24 that Yemen was ready to grant Moscow access to air and naval bases.

“In the fight against terrorism we reach out and offer all facilities. Our airports, our ports… We are ready to provide this to the Russian Federation,” Saleh said in an interview in Sanaa.

The ex-strongman may lack the clout to implement such an offer. But officials from the party he heads now run a political council that controls much of the country along with the Houthi movement. For the first time last week Iran let Russian jets take off from its territory to bomb armed groups in Syria.

Russia is the only major country that maintains a diplomatic presence in Yemen where a 16-month war between a Saudi-led coalition and the Houthi rebels has killed over 6,500 people and raised the prospect of famine in the Arab World’s poorest country.

The war has allowed Islamist militants including al-Qaida and the Islamic State group to flourish, even though the United States has for years launched drone strikes against groups in Yemen.

Russia abstained from a United Nations Security Council resolution in 2015 that imposed an arms embargo on the Houthi rebels.

Moscow’s relations with Yemen date back decades and until the break-up of the USSR, thousands of Soviet military advisers and trainers worked in the formerly-independent south.

Sanaa_rally1

On Saturday tens of thousands of Yemenis rallied in the capital to show support for the Houthi-led bloc as the head of the group’s new governing council vowed to form a full government in the coming days.

Yemen ready to open bases to Russia to fight terrorism: Ex-President Saleh

Press TV – August 22, 2016

Yemen’s former President Ali Abdullah Saleh says the new government in the country is ready to cooperate with Russia against terrorism by allowing Russian access to Yemeni military bases.

“Russia is the closest to us and we extend our hand to Russia to cooperate in the field of combating terrorism,” Saleh said in an interview with state-run Russia 24 TV channel on Sunday.

He said Yemen was ready to open the country’s military bases to Russia.

“We provide all the facilities in our bases, airports and sea ports. We are ready to provide all facilities to the Russian Federation,” he said.

He said, however, that such cooperation would not mean Russia would be fighting alongside Yemeni forces against Saudi forces waging war on Yemen.

‘Iran has no presence in Yemen’

Saleh also rejected claims that Iran is interfering in Yemen’s internal affairs.

He said Saudi Arabia has launched the war on Yemen under the pretext of defending Saudi national security against Iran, emphasizing that the pretext is “baseless.”

“Iran has no presence in Yemen at all,” he said, adding that, “The international intelligence services know that Iran is not present in Yemen.”

“We are not against Iran; Iran is an Islamic brotherly country. We don’t have any agreement or coalition with her currently,” he said, referring to Iran.

Yemen has seen almost daily military attacks by Saudi Arabia since late March 2015, with internal sources putting the toll from the bloody aggression at about 10,000.

In late July, Yemen’s Houthi Ansarullah movement and Saleh’s General People’s Congress party decided to establish the Supreme Political Council to run the country. It was formally launched on August 6, when the Houthis and Saleh’s faction announced that they both had an equal share in the 10-member body.

August 22, 2016 Posted by | Aletho News | , , , | Leave a comment

Run-of-River Hydro: Green Energy or Greenwash?

By Josh Klemm | International Rivers | August 16, 2016

It’s a little strange to write a fact sheet about a term that actually has no meaning.

That’s right – there’s no real definition of a “run-of-river” hydro project. As our former director, Patrick McCully, once said of run-of-river hydro, “It’s a sort of Alice in Wonderland, ‘it means exactly what I want it to mean’ term.”

Simply put, run-of-river (ROR) hydro projects have limited storage capacity as compared to conventional storage dams. But there, the clarity ends. The term has been applied to everything from micro-hydro projects providing electricity in remote vil­lages to the Belo Monte mega-dam in Brazil, which will devastate an extensive area of the Brazilian rainforest, dis­place over 20,000 people, and threaten the survival of indigenous tribes that depend on the river.

One World Bank insider told me that Bank officials often misuse the term as short-hand for “low-impact.” That kind of imprecision lulls officials and the public into thinking ROR projects are the silver (or green) bullet: hydro projects that produce power but without the negative impacts. Because the term sounds so innocuous, ROR projects usually don’t get the level of scrutiny they require. And the truth is, run-of-river dams are anything but low-impact.

Preparing our new fact sheet, “Swindling Rivers,” I’ve learned a lot about run-of-river hydro, the different forms it takes, and the significant impact ROR projects can have:

The Himalayas are perforated by run-of-river tunnels where river flows are diverted to powerhouses, bypassing river channels for often dozens of kilometers. India’s Teesta River is undergoing a ROR boom that, once complete, will see more of the river flow though tunnels than the river channel itself. These ROR schemes divert some, or even all, of a river’s flow, often causing changes to a river’s temperature, velocity and depth that can completely kill off the natural life in a river.

At the same time, so-called “peaking” ROR projects are wreaking havoc on communities and aquatic life. Unlike the diversion tunnels, these projects often store a river’s flows behind a dam during the day, only to be released all at once in the evening to generate power during peak energy demand. These daily fluctuations between drought and flood are incredibly disruptive to river ecology. More tragically, these unexpected releases have made drownings a common occurrence for downstream communities in India.

And just like traditional dams, all run-of-river projects stymie the life cycle of migratory fish.

A new feature in The Economist highlights the perils of dam construction on one of the world’s greatest waterways, the Mekong River, where Laos is currently building the Xayaburi and Don Sahong Dams. These would be the first two of eleven dams planned on the lower mainstream of the river, all of which are classified as “run-of-river” projects, despite sizeable reservoirs. Laos’ downstream neighbors fear the dams’ impacts on fish populations and agriculture that sustain the livelihoods and food security of millions and have voiced strong concerns over the projects. The Government of Laos, in return, has pointed to the fact these projects are run-of-river in an attempt to downplay concern over their impacts. If the full suite of dams is constructed, they would transform more than half of the vibrant river into a series of stagnant reservoirs.

But the concerns are not going away. In fact, they were recently echoed in an article in the prestigious magazine Science, which raised the alarm about the threat of major biodiversity losses by run-of-river projects on the world’s great rivers – the Mekong, the Amazon and the Congo.

In short, there’s nothing innately better about run-of-river projects. If anything, the term is a greenwash for some deeply destructive projects. The upshot? Don’t be fooled by the name: All ROR projects deserve the same exacting scrutiny as any other dam.

August 22, 2016 Posted by | Economics, Environmentalism, Timeless or most popular | Leave a comment